Title: Methodology

Pairing: Komui/River

Rating: M

Summary: River's tried and tested methods of waking Komui up.

Hope you like!

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There were two sure-fire ways to wake Head Officer Komui up and River had learned and perfected both of them over the years. It had been a matter of survival. If he hadn't, then doubtless he'd have been found rocking back and forth in one corner of the office gibbering madly to himself after less then a month of working with the man.

Or possibly contemplating suicide via paperwork. Either way, it wouldn't have been pretty.

The first method had been explained to him in hushed tones by one of the temporary assisstants as Komui slept. It had been about a month after River had arrived at the Black Order headquarters. A month where he'd spent most of his time either getting lost in the maze-like corridors or trying to rouse Komui into some kind of state wakeful enough to get his paperwork done.

If people thought that the state of Komui's offce was bad now, they should have seen it back then! River was surprised that no-one had been killed.

He'd learned a lot of things in that month. Things like 'Coffee is your friend' or 'Wear protective clothing if Komui brings an experiment with him'. He'd found the second one out the hard way after pulling an all-nighter. He still had a couple of faded scars. Not exactly the injury in the line of duty that he'd been imagining.

But the most important thing that he'd learned had been those three little words.

Linali's. Getting. Married.

He'd known about Komui's attachment to his sister, of course. He'd seen it in action when some kid tried clumsily to flirt with the girl. Komui had been downright vicious in his revenge, although not once had his expression changed from the pleasant smile that he always wore. He'd still been unprepared for the instantanious reaction that the phrase brought from the older man.

But it had worked, and worked well, despite the occasional black eye or brusied rib when Komui reacted a little too violently.

The second method had taken a little longer to discover. About a year longer in fact.

The aftermath of a harrowing mission that both he and Komui had been involved in planning, had left River more than a little shell-shocked. He'd seen failures before a couple of times, but the scale of this one had been a larger, the deaths more disturbing.

He could still remember the numbness that had clouded his mind, the sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. He'd held out as long as he could while the reports flooded in, sorting through the papers and photographs and getting them to the right people. Eventually though, it had all blurred together and when he'd felt the walls closing in, he'd had to run.

Twenty minutes later he rested his forehead against cool porcelain, feeling as though he'd just thrown up everything he'd ever eaten. He'd probably made a fool of himself. Some stupid brat who couldn't cope with the rigours of the job. What a failure.

He'd started when cool hands rested against the back of his neck, followed quickly by a damp cloth that felt like the most wonderful thing ever. The hands rubbed soothing circles over his back until he relaxed enough to uncurl from around the toilet.

He'd looked up at his benefactor, expecting to see Linali, sweet kid that she was, or maybe one of the other guys he'd built a friendship with. He hadn't expected to come face to face with Head Officer Komui Li.

He'd tried to stand, tried to stutter an apology for running off, but Komui had just guided him back to the office with his smile turned into something sadder. The papers that River had been working on had been cleared away when they got back, for which he was intensely grateful.

Komui had sat him down and poured him a drink, something stronger than the beer he usually drank. After a couple of minutes of furious scribbling of signatures, enough time for River to regain his composure, Komui had joined him on the sofa, his own drink clasped in his hand.

They hadn't really spoken, or at least River couldn't remember it, but it had been comfortable. The alcohol had dulled the horror and just left him feeling warm and hollow.

He'd never been sure which of them had made the first move. Maybe it had been both of them. But before River had had the chance to think, the two of them were kissing, Komui's hands buried into his hair, holding his head still. It had been desperate and hungry and he'd realised then that Komui was affected just as much, he just had more practice at hiding it.

They'd barely made it to the bedroom, and thank god the Head officer slept next to his office and not the couple of floors downstairs where River had his room. It hadn't been gentle or sweet. Nothing like that. But it had been enough to fill the hollowness for one night and wipe away the reports from his mind.

In the morning, River had woken up expecting to be kicked out or for the discomfort to be overwhelming. Sleeping with your boss wasn't exactly something you could just ignore. But Komui had been awake for once, had brought them both coffee and settled back down beside River as though it were the most natural thing in the world.

And it was then that he'd found it.

Nervously, because he wasn't exactly clear on what this thing that had happened would mean, he'd nuzzled his face against the crook of Komui's neck, pressing coffee kisses to the older man's skin. And when he'd reached that one spot just behind Komui's ear and below his hairline well... the reaction had made things obvious.

He'd experimented when the one night turned into two, then four, then more, awake and asleep, until he knew the exact spot, the exact pressure needed, by heart.

And while the threat of Linali's impending marriage was just right for when River had a pile of paperwork that needed Komui's signature, that spot led to far more pleasant awakenings.